Why Not?

I stared down at the phone in my hand, and I couldn’t help but smile as I scanned across the names that appeared in all of my recent messages. The majority of these people came into my life within the past few months, and the ones who didn’t – they’ve been in it for the long haul. I smiled because the phone in my hand, wasn’t the same phone that was in my hand the last time I got on an airplane a month before. I smiled because if you think about it, flying is weird. We trust one human being to direct this gigantic piece of machinery soaring through the SKY. Moving a katrillion miles high in the air, like birds, except we’re not birds. We carry tons of junk with us everywhere we go. Our hair is loaded with hairspray and gel and the jewelry some of us have on probably weighs more than your common bird. It’s a strange thing, isn’t it? We walk across this carpeted tacky hallway, and we step on, and we secure those flimsy seat belts, and we take a peak out of the corner of our eyes at this stranger sitting next to us. What a strangely intimate experience an airplane ride is – when else are you going to see a stranger sleep? Notice all their little weird habits, sometimes mirroring our own. (More often than not – not, because doesn’t it always seem our seat assignments are paired by opposites?) I watch the feet that glide down the aisle, strong calves and neon sneakers and I ache to be running. And I think about those new friends, the ones I met from running, the ones who I’ve only shared conversations with in the middle of the woods, ducking beneath branches, sweating in the Florida springtime humidity, or through the winding sprinkler soaked neighborhood roads. I think of the new friends I’ve met in hotel lobbies, or in a dark concert venue waiting for a show to begin. I think about how it only takes the initial strike up of a conversation and the world opens up ten fold. I think about the endless possibilities, how there are dozens of millions of people on this planet who I will never have the pleasure of meeting, never have a chance encounter with – but there are so many that I will. And what stops us from hearing the stories of those around us? From sharing a few words, a deep laugh, a sincere smile, making some new memory? Why doesn’t everyone do that more often? I’m compelled to not live any other way now because I just can’t stand it. That person that you just passed up, who’s been sitting across from you in the terminal for three hours charging their phone, sipping a coffee, and taking long glances at each person walking by, or the one at the other end of the row who sparked your attention as they leaned over a notebook in their lap diligently scrawling notes across the pages – how do you know that person isn’t your new best friend? Your lover? A musical soul mate you just haven’t met yet? You don’t. We never do and that’s the beautiful surprise of life. I don’t know if there’s such a thing as being too friendly, maybe? I’m not sure. But with all the different new bonds you could be making at any given moment, why not? Why not?

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